Ritesh Trivedi
Manager (Sr Audio Engineer),
Rishtey Cineplex – Viacom 18 Media Pvt. Ltd.

How the broadcast, cable, and satellite industry perform in next couple of years

Cable television has been entertaining the world for more than half a century now. The TV industry has evolved enormously over the years from the black and white variant to color, big boxes to flat screen, and numbered TV channels booming into countless channels that we are offered today. The class is more inclined toward digital platforms but TV still enjoys the bigger chunk of the audience which is the mass.

But exponential advances in technology have changed entire industries, especially over the past 10 to 15 years. For example, Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, HBO, Hulu, and digital channels are massive disruptive forces within the media and television industries. Further, given the rapid pace of technological change, the landscape will continue to evolve and look completely different a decade from now. Here are three bold predictions:

Freedom to choose. The cable TV industry has traditionally featured a lineup of popular channels that customers purchase as packages. A customer who wants ESPN, for example, must purchase a bundle that includes multiple channels, one of which is ESPN. This bunding of channels gives consumers the option to buy a combined package, which theoretically costs less than buying each channel separately. Cable TV is facing growing competition, however. With companies such as YouTube, HBO, Hulu, Netflix, Apple TV, and Amazon Prime Video producing and offering premium shows, the interest in traditional cable television has declined. What is more, in the future, analysts expect that these premium services are likely to have recommendation engines so powerful that they preclude the need to browse shows, offering libraries made up of millions of options and catered to the viewing habits of each subscriber.

Commercials become antiquated. Streaming-service providers are proving that it is possible to create and grow successful enterprises around a business model that includes little or no revenue from commercials. The trend is now changing to one based on a subscription model rather than on ad revenue alone.

More interactivity. Companies such as Facebook, Google, and Microsoft have all developed virtual reality technologies. Within the next 10 years, traditional television screens are likely to make way, at least in part, for variations that pair with VR eye-wear and headsets. Evidence of this is already available in Google’s development of Google Glass as well as Samsung’s foray into wearable accessories that help turn phones into virtual reality machines.

What is more, all televisions are likely to become smart TVs within the next 10 years. Expect these devices, which allow users to stream videos and music, browse the internet, and view photos, to be ubiquitous in homes across the world, adding to the power and potential of virtual reality and future programming. As it becomes easier and cheaper for small TV channels to move to OTT, satellite operators will either have to decrease capacity prices, or focus on maintaining Tier-I and Tier-II customers.

For Asian regional operator Measat Satellite Systems, India and South Asia remain promising DTH markets, while Indonesia and Malaysia may show less growth because of competition from regional platforms. Measat’s associate vice president of sales, Ganendra Selvaraj says that satellite prevails in several emerging markets in Asia that have poor terrestrial infrastructure or are geographically dispersed.

As on-demand content consumption becomes more popular, coupled with the COVID-19 pandemic affecting economies, slow-down in the broadcast market is expected but I do not see a major change to their business over the next few years, Selvaraj observes. This is primarily because many areas in the regions that they operate in lack reliable broadband. In any case, MEASAT is cognizant to the growing broadband demand and evolving viewing habits and hence focused on building high throughput satellite [HTS] capacity suitable for broadband services in the region.

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